PIA25728: NASA's Juno Mission Spots Jupiter's Tiny Moon Amalthea
 Target Name:  Amalthea
 Is a satellite of:  Jupiter
 Mission:  Juno
 Spacecraft:  Juno
 Instrument:  JunoCam
 Product Size:  3600 x 3600 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Malin Space Science Systems
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA25728.tif (27.66 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA25728.jpg (732.3 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

click here for Figure A for PIA25728
Figure A

NASA's Juno mission captured these views of Jupiter during its 59th close flyby of the giant planet on March 7, 2024. They provide a good look at Jupiter's colorful belts and swirling storms, including the Great Red Spot. Close examination reveals something more: two glimpses of the tiny moon Amalthea (see Figure A above).

With a radius of just 52 miles (84 kilometers), Amalthea has a potato-like shape, lacking the mass to pull itself into a sphere. In 2000, NASA's Galileo spacecraft revealed some surface features, including impact craters, hills, and valleys. Amalthea circles Jupiter inside Io's orbit, which is the innermost of the planet's four largest moons, taking 0.498 Earth days to complete one orbit.

Amalthea is the reddest object in the solar system, and observations indicate it gives out more heat than it receives from the Sun. This may be because, as it orbits within Jupiter's powerful magnetic field, electric currents are induced in the moon's core. Alternatively, the heat could be from tidal stresses caused by Jupiter's gravity.

At the time that the first of these two images was taken, the Juno spacecraft was about 165,000 miles (265,000 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops, at a latitude of about 5 degrees north of the equator.

Citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt made these images using raw data from the JunoCam instrument, applying processing techniques to enhance the clarity of the images.

JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products at https://missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam/processing. More information about NASA citizen science can be found at https://science.nasa.gov/citizenscience and https://www.nasa.gov/solve/opportunities/citizenscience.

More information about Juno is at https://www.nasa.gov/juno and https://missionjuno.swri.edu. For more about this finding and other science results, see https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/science-findings.

Image Credit:
Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
Image processing by Gerald Eichstädt

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